Tag Archives: samples

Birchbox – October 2013 {and HelloFresh Winner!}

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First off, let’s get to our winner of the HelloFresh Gift Card Giveaway!

Ashley from My Cats and I (Cooking) in Chi!

Congrats, Ashley!

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And just a quick look at October’s Birchbox Contents {All of which I have yet to try!}:

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October Birchbox: Beauty Buzz

So what is in that Tiffany-colored box?

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Liz Earle Cleanse & Polish Hot Cloth Cleanser (with Cloth)

And the rest of the contents:

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October 2013 Birchbox contents:

  • Miss Jessie’s Original Pillow Soft Curls
  • Birchbox Find – Chapstick Hydration Lock (this was a bonus item!)
  • Folle de Joie fragrance sample
  • Liz Earle Cleanse & Polish Hot Cloth Cleanser (with cloth)
  • POP Beauty Aqua Lacquer

Which item would you most like to try out of this box?

Cheers~
Carrie

 

September Food Boxes {And a Giveaway!}

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Subscription Box Saturday – Food Box Edition

I know it’s a little late, but I wanted to share what I received in my September food Boxes. And I’ve got something to giveaway!

Love with Food $10/mo + $2 shipping {1 meal donated to a hungry child for each box shipped)

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September Love with Food Box

The contents of this entire box was Gluten Free!

  • Milas Foods Pepper and Artichoke Bruschetta – Just wasn’t my thing
  • Betty Lou Blueberry Fruit Bar – Mmmm…
  • Wild Garden Hummus Dip – I’d had this before and wasn’t a fan, so I passed it along to someone else.
  • Bare Fruit Cinnamon Apple Chips – I always love these and they are so much better in terms of ingredients compared to some that I’ve bought on a whim at the store.
  • Cosmos Cinnamon Crunch – We’ve had caramel corn from Cosmos before. So yummy. This one is just as good!
  • Cheddar Cheese Organicasaurus Cute, but really just tasted like styrofoam… assuming I know what that tastes like.
  • Licious Organics Cherry Berry Raw Cookie Seriously. I don’t remember.
  • YumEarth Organics Fruit Snacks I don’t normally eat fruit snacks, but these are some of the best I’ve ever had.

Lots of fun snacks from Love with food this month!

Goodies$7/month (includes shipping). It looks like I took a lot more photos of this box this month.

September Goodies Box

September Goodies Box

September contents:

  • Gimbals Scottie Dogs – How cute are these? Some people hate black licorice. I don’t mind it. It’s actually supposed to be good for digestion.

Goodies-Scottie Dogs

  • Thyme honey – I’ve yet to try!
  • Broccoli Cilantro Savory Tea – I’m not a fan of broccoli, but this might be refreshing with the cilantro. I will give it a try soon.

Goodies-Savory Tea

  • Zone Greek Yogurt Chocolate Bar – Good, but I still love KIND Bars more. There are a lot of ingredients in this one. I was about to turn over the package so that you could see, but Shamrock photobombed me and I thought it was too cute.
  • Goodies-ZoneBare Fruit Fuji Apple Chips – YES! Another package. YUM!
  • Nestle PureLife Lemon Water – It’s, uh… lemon water.
  • Kashi Sundried Tomato, Basil & Feta Hummus Chips – These were much better than I thought they’d be. Lots of flavor and not as styrofoam-y as i had expected!

Two great boxes this month! However, my giveaway has nothing to do with these boxes. But it does have to do with a Food Box. I received $25 HelloFresh Gift Card in one of my boxes a few months back. I didn’t think I’d sign up. But just when I read some great reviews on the company and decided to join, I found out that they do not deliver to my area. ;(

Therefore, I’d like to give away this gift card to someone who can use it. It expires 12/31/13, so please only sign up for the giveaway if you can the gift card. Check out the HelloFresh website for more information and to determine if they ship where you live. They do list each state they ship-to, but I’ve also learned that they only ship to certain areas in certain states, so be sure to enter your zip code.

Feel free to comment on this post today, but if you’d like to take enter the drawing for the giveaway, please note one thing you found interesting on the HelloFresh website!

Giveaway will close next Subscription Box Saturday – October 12th at 11:59pm.

Cheers~
Carrie

NatureBox – A New One {Review}

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Subscription Box Saturday

Somehow, somewhere, I got a deal on NatureBox. I completely forgot about it (despite the email that it shipped) until it showed up on my doorstep! So it was a nice little surprise.

What:

Each month, you receive “15 to 20 servings” (five full-sized packages) of healthy snacks. I like the fact the the quality standards of their snacks:

  • No High Fructose Corn Syrup
  • No Partially Hydrogenated Oils
  • No Trans Fats
  • No Artificial Sweeteners
  • No Artificial Flavors
  • No Artificial Colors

How much:

$19.95/month. After you receive your first box, you have the option to pick your own snacks. You can also upgrade and add snacks for an additional charge.

If you want more snacks (say for a family or party), you can get 10 full-sized snacks with the $29.95 Happy Snacker Box or 20 full-sized snacks with the $49.95 Smart Snacker Box.

Here is what I received in my first box:

NBContents

I gave some thought to the $20 per box for five snacks. That would make each of these bags $4, not including shipping. I could see each of these easily priced at $3.99 at the store, especially at an all-natural foods type store. So it isn’t a bad deal. Let’s go through each item:

I love almonds, so I opened these first. I love the blueberry flavor! I promptly started rationing them into snack bags for the coming weeks so that I didn’t overeat them. I’d get these again any day.

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Think Fritos, but better! I didn’t get many because Rob finished off the bag. Another winner! I loved how flavorful the spices were.

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I was looking forward to these, because you know how I love chocolate! I was highly disappointed. There was some cocoa flavor, but the texture was a little styrofoam-like, almost stale. I had Rob try them, just to see his reaction and find out his opinion. This is what he said:

“Where’s the frosting?”

Aha. That could be what’s missing. Not exactly a healthy snack anymore, though.

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I love rice crackers, so I really loved the flavor and crunch of these… at first. Rob said that they tasted like seaweed. Each time I had a serving, I liked them less and less.

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I love this combination of dried fruit. If you received these in a box where you received nuts or something, you could mix ’em up to make some trail mix. Some of the best dried fruit I’ve had.

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For the record, I served the remaining Teriyaki Twists and Cocoa Waffle Wafers at a party. They were still left at the end of the night.

I liked NatureBox, but in the end decided to cancel. I thought about giving the option to pick my own snacks a chance. It just seems like a lot of snacks for me to receive! I’d feel the need to be snacking all of the time and not necessarily on fruit and veggies. In order to cancel, I had to call customer service. They do not accept emailed requests to cancel. While they suggested I give the you-pick-’em snacks a chance, they were very kind about my decision to cancel. They did offer me a discount on my next month to stay, because you really do need to give something more than one shot before you fall in love. Such was the case with me and Sons of Anarchy, Downton Abbey and House of Cards. When I did Wine Tastings, I teach everyone that the first taste is never the true taste.

But alas, NatureBox and I have parted ways. However, if you are looking for some healthy, minimally processed snacks for your family, I would recommend NatureBox for the high quality. You may not love every snack, but you’ll get a chance to try new ones or just pick the ones you like if you want. They do offer specialty boxes and boxes for those who have dietary restrictions as well.

You can join now for 25% off your first box by using the code REFER25.

What is your favorite flavor of almond or favorite type of trail mix?

Cheers~
Carrie

Another New Doggie Box Battle

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Subscription Box Saturday – Doggie Box Edition

Recently, I was offered a 2-month subscription to PetBox for $29 through Coupaw, a deal site for pet products. Let’s see how it stands up to our favorite BarkBox.

Here’s our September comparison.

PetBox

What: “Each box contains five to six items such as healthy treats, toys, grooming products, etc. Each month your PetBox will have five to six new items with a minimum retail value of over $60. These high quality items are each hand picked for your pet’s enjoyment. For each PetBox that we ship each month, we give $3 to help animal rescue efforts.”

Cost: $29 per month or as low as $19 per month for a 12-month subscription.

Our first box:

And the Contents:

PB3

September PetBox Contents: Gourmet Select Carrot Crunch Treats, Petrodex Doggie Toothbrush and Toothpaste, Safemade Newt Chew, Doggie Sunscreen, PoopBags with dispenser, Nootie Daily Pet Spritz, No Grainers Soft Chews

Of course, Shamrock wanted Newt to jump out of the box as soon as possible, so he could play with him!

PB4
Do you think it could be for this reason?

PB5I think it’s funny that “newt flavor* tastes like chicken.” Rob won’t be testing this out any time soon. Unfortunately, Newt lost a couple of legs in a matter of minutes. I think Shamrock wanted to get to the bottom of that Newt flavor!

I had never heard of Doggie Sunscreen before, so I am glad that included some information:

PB6

It’s good, too, that we received the toothbrush kit. Once upon a time, I used to brush Sophie’s teeth. I don’t know how I got out of the habit. I’m sure that chicken flavored toothpaste from when she was a pup is no good now. At least they will have their own toothbrushes and I can start this habit again.

Overall, we liked the box. Not too shabby for the $14.50 I paid. However, the homepage states that the retail value is well over $60. I searched for these products online and came up with $36.96. Not a bad deal for those paying $29 for the box, but it doesn’t exactly meet the $60 claim. Here’s my breakdown. It was a quick online look-up. And when I saw a sale price, I ignored it and went with the regular price.

  • Gourmet Select Treats – $2.59 (7 oz bag)
  • Petrodex Toothbrush & Toothpaste Kit – $10.59
  • Newt – $4.29
  • Nootie Daily Spritz – $11.99
  • Doggie Sunscreen – $2.50 ($4.99 for two)
  • No Grainers Treats – $5
  • TOTAL = $36.96

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BarkBox:

What: “Each monthly box contains a combination of 4-6 treats, toys, and hygiene products that have been hand selected and approved by Scout, head product tester for BarkBox. BarkBox is dedicated to supporting the health and happiness of all dogs! That’s why we donate at least 10% of our profits to shelters, rescues and animal welfare organizations.”

Cost: $29 per month or as low as $19 per month for a 12-month subscription.

September BarkBox Contents:

BB3

September BarkBox Contents: It’s Purely Natural Treats, Wagatha’s Tuscan Pizza Organic Dog Biscuits, VetraCare Liquid Bandage for Pets and….

Wait, that box is missing an item that Sham stole out of the box right away!

BB4

That’s a cool koala rope toy, squeaker, animal toy all stuffed in one!

I have not seen promises as to how much the BarkBox claims to be worth each month, but I thought I’d check on these items just for comparison.

  • Aussie Naturals Koala Toy – $7.99
  • It’s Purely Natural Treats – $7.88
  • Wagatha’s Organic Treats – $10.95
  • VetraCare Liquid Banadage for Pets – $7.99
  • TOTAL = $34.81

You can always get $5 off your first month’s subscription of BarkBox by clicking on my referral link.

In case you are curious, here are the other doggie subscription boxes we’ve tried!

Since thinking about and spoiling my pooches makes me happy, tell me something you are/were happy about this weekend!

*Note: I have not been compensated to review either of these subscription boxes. I have purchased each subscription myself, using deals whenever they are offered through various deal sites.

Cheers~
Carrie

Subscription Box Saturday

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What do you do when you get three subscription boxes in one day?

3 boxesYou write about the easiest one!

This is the first time I’ve received all three of these on the same day. This is not to to mention the other two NEW boxes I received earlier in the week.

But I can’t talk about them all.

So let’s start with Birchbox:

September Birchbox Contents

September Birchbox Contents

I love the contents of this month’s box! I am really excited to give everything a try. I am especially excited for:

Ojon Restoriative Lash Treatment and Mascara Duo

Ojon Restorative Lash Treatment and Mascara Duo

I knew that this was “lash treatment,” but didn’t know it included mascara until I was writing this post. I love this kind of stuff! You know I’ll be testing it out tomorrow!

Another item that is hard to see in the contents picture:

Birchbox Pedicure

VOESH New York Lemon Pedicure Scrub

This is another item I can’t wait to try. Just receiving this made me feel like I’m being pampered this month. I’m going to save it for a reward after a run or a race.

The other items:

  • BCBGMAXAZRIA Bon Genre perfume sample – I love receiving perfume samples. I am waiting for the day that I love one so much that it makes me run out and buy it. I have a few of my staple favorites and I don’t often deviate. But when the day comes that I adore a scent, you better believe that I’ll be getting a full-sized bottle.
  • COOLA Tinted Matte SPF 30 Mineral Suncreen – I would more likely expect to see this in the summer, but whatever. By now, we all know that we should be wearing sunscreen year round. Being fair-skinned myself, I apply it often. However, with my Vitamin D deficiency discovery as of late, I’ve been foregoing the sunscreen on short runs after work.
  • RUFFIAN Nail Lacquer (Fox Hunt color) – This is an all-purpose color for fall or spring. Maybe I’ll treat those tootsies after the pedicure treatment.

As you can see, I’m quite excited about this month’s box. If you subscribe to Birchbox, what did you receive? Everyone receives something different depending on how you answer the profile questions! Just $10 per month.

What products are your favorite for pampering yourself?

Cheers~
Carrie

Can Subscription Boxes Thrive?

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Subscription Box Saturday

Last week’s $1 Box post got me thinking… How do subscription boxes really work? With Cravebox {which was my favorite one that I tried} going out of business and the Pawalla company deciding to discontinue their subscription box service, I’m really wondering.

Do subscription boxes get samples from companies as a way to advertise their businesses?

Beauty Army samples are truly samples. They are usually tiny packages meant for one-use only. I can’t believe I pay $12 for that box. The good news is that I can skip any month I’d like. I’ve skipped the last few months because I couldn’t find six worthwhile samples to choose.

Or do they buy the items {especially if they are full-sized} in bulk and get a deal on them?

How do they determine how many of each sample or product they need each month when people are joining and canceling at different rates each month?

This would be especially difficult for those trying to put together a fun theme.

Then there’s the shipping.

A lot of times shipping is included in the box price or is rather inexpensive. But I do know that most boxes that I receive would cost me $10 to $15 to ship myself. Sure, businesses can get a deal and ship at a bulk rate, but the rates aren’t that good to absorb all of those costs.

A case of wine costs anywhere from $35 to $50 to ship due to its weight and adult signature restrictions. But I’d still get flack from guests at tasting events when they are charged a $9.95 flat fee on their order, regardless of size, to ship to the host. It’s a good deal, people, especially when you are already getting a good deal on high quality wine. The shipping is not built into the price of the bottle. By comparison, consider the fact that a winery in California wanted me to charge me $60 to ship a case of their wine I loved.

But back to the boxes…

Sometimes when I think about what a deal a box is, I wonder if the subscription box companies make any money.  There are a lot of subscription boxes out there. And I’ve found that most of them are a lot more expensive than the ones I receive. There are some I’d love to try, but shelling out $30 or $50 per month just isn’t an option when I don’t know what it’s going to be like.

My August Food Boxes…

I have noticed that the very inexpensive Goodies Box I receive {just $7} has scaled back, too. Or at least they had in August.

  • The size of their boxes has been getting smaller, but I feel that they are packed much more nicely.
  • They no longer include a card describing the products. Instead, the recipient is instructed to go online. I think this would save time and money if a product doesn’t work out or when they put different products in different boxes.
  • But this month, the items I received were smaller sample sizes and they looked skimpier in the box.
August Goodies Box

August Goodies Box {clockwise from top left}: Natural Intentions Veggie Chips, Alo Light Orange & Passion Fruit Drink, Pronto! Caol Cafe Blues Liquid Brewstick, Hidden Valley Ranch Sunflower Seeds, Tangy Zangy Twisties Sour Wild Berry Snacks, Poplets

I can’t complain. This is the least expensive box I get! But the fact that they are scaling back might have something to do with the economics of subscription boxes. What do you think?

Fave item in the box? The Brewstick! It was a great one-serving cup of coffee for me when my husband was out of town one weekend. And it is liquid, so it doesn’t leave behind any gross leftover granuals that some instant coffee packets do.

The Poplets reminded me of the Pop’d Kerns that we have in Minnesota, but the flavor and texture of Pop’d Kerns flavor are sooooo much better!

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On the other hand, Love with Food always seems to come through for me! Maybe it just seems like a lot that they pack into that small box of theirs, but I like it. I also love their themes each month. Most of their products are all-natural or organic or GMO-free. The bonus is that I usually haven’t had most of them before, so I’m discovering something new all of the time. And how they are donating a meal to a hungry child for every box shipped, I don’t know. The box is only $10 per month + $2 shipping.

August Love with Food Box

August Love with Food Box {clockwise from top left}: Sahale  Fruit & Almond Crunchers, Dizzy Pig BBQ Spice Rub, Harvest Crisps Baked Snapea Crisps, Aunty Sally’s Creamy Original Pralines, Good Boy Organics BOPS Sea Salt Potato Crisps, Project 7 Sugar-Free Fresh Mint Tubes, Rip van Wafels Caramel Amsterdam Waffle Cookie, El Pinto Salsa

Fave item in this box? The Rip van Wafel Caramel Waffle Cookie! I received this in a Goodies Box earlier this year. So I got a second chance not to let it melt and fall into my mug o’ coffee like I did last time. 😉

In my subscription boxes, I often get great coupons, too! I’m talking $1 and $2 off coupons, none of these “save 35 cents when you buy 4” ones you get with the Sunday newspaper. Sometimes I’ve received coupons for BOGOs as well as FREE items. I like it when they do that because it means they want you to try the product, but it really isn’t shippable.

And look below, I dropped the ball and missed getting you this discount code for Love with Food by Aug 31st. But they are still offering the additional points, so it’s possible they may still be accepting the code. It’s worth a try, right?! Click here to enroll.

LWF2

If you are wondering which other subscriptions boxes I’d like to try, here are a few on my wish list. Anybody want to go shopping for me? 😉

  • HelloFresh – They send you all of the ingredients to make three meals, down to the spices. I received a $25 gift card toward the service in another subscription box, but it still seemed a little pricey and too good to be true. Then I read some incredible reviews about this service. I was all set to join when I discovered that they do not ship to Minnesota. I will have to do a giveaway for that gift card! I don’t want it to go to waste.
  • Taste Trunk (either the Gourmet or Healthy Box) – Specializing in higher end gourmet food products.
  • Hungry Globetrotter – Food inspired by a different region of the world.
  • Stitch Fix – Personal Clothing Shopper. Would love to try this when I’m down to size. 😉
  • Escape Monthly – A vacation in a box!
  • Ellie – Fitness Clothing Box (Again, one to try when I reach my goal. Could be a great reward!)

I’ve also always wanted to belong to a fruit-of-the-month or cheese-of-the-month club. The above more expensive boxes are probably worth it, but you don’t know until you try them. I would like to try them for a deal, but then is it fair to them if we cancel after that?

How do you think most subscription box services work?

If there is one box you could try, what would it be?

Cheers~
Carrie

The $1 Box

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Subscription Box Saturday

Once upon a time, I tried KLUTCHclub. Using a Groupon, I received a KLUTCHclub box for just $4 {plus $8 shipping} instead of the usual $10 {plus $8 shipping} charged for members. In the box, I received what are now my favorite earbuds I’ve ever owned as well some body butter that I smells soooo good. But some of the other “health products” were not up my alley. So I chose not to continue with the club. However, I remained on their email list. This  month, I received this email:

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What did I have to lose?! Sure, I still had to pay $8 shipping. But in my last experience, I spent less than the value of what I actually received. Well, not only that, but I spent less on what I received than the value of  what I actually used. {In my opinion, there is no value in things that I received but did not use.}

So I ordered the $1 box. You see, most of the time, you don’t know what’s going to be in the box. Or you may get a vague idea. It seems, though, once you become a member, you can log in and see what could be coming in the next Women’s, Mom’s or Men’s boxes. Then, unless you are a continuous subscriber, you can decide whether or not you want to order that box. I like that option.

Here’s what arrived:

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KLUTCHClub $1 Best Of Box

The Loot:

  • Crunchmasters Multi-Seed Crackers – I’ve always liked these. Great Snack.
  • Crystal Body Deodorant Towelettes – I haven’t tried these. They might be good for travel. The reviews I’ve read have been very good. The fact that there is no aluminum, parabens or other heebie-jeebie stuff is a plus.
  • Sheaterra Organics African Black Soap Menthe Body Wash – Stuffed it into my travel bag!
  • Dream Water – I got this stuff in a Goodies Box a while back. Doesn’t really do the trick for me.
  • Tea of a Kind Citrus Mint Green Tea Drink – This beverage was refreshing. They preserve the “natural essence” of their teas with their Gizmo technology.
  • Immuno Mixed Berry Flavor Gum – I was really excited for a gum that offered an “immunity boost with zinc, vit c, echinachea, elderberry and more*”; however, I was disappointed with the flavor. The yummy berry-ness of it all lasted approximately a minute and thirty seconds before starting to taste metallic and then just gross. I keep re-trying it and keep finding the same thing. I have no idea why I keep doing that!
  • BluePrintBar – Lemon Almond Cashew Date – I love bars. The flavor sounds good. I remember eating it, but I don’t remember “tasting” it. So I can’t tell you.
  • doc Multi-Use Suction Holder – This ended up in my shower. It’s a new place for my razor and my shower gel puff!
  • Cocoa Via Daily Cocoa Extract Supplement (unsweetened dark chocolate flavor) – I received this stuff before in a New Year’s Resolutions Box, but in multiple flavors. I wasn’t too impressed because they tasted too diet-y. But I’m willing to give them another shot. Maybe I’ll use it to make chocolate milk this time? Maybe I can doctor it up if it’s not suiting me.

Worth $9? Maybe. Worth continuing a subscription for a higher price? No.

So, today I’m thinking about subscriptions boxes and box contents and retail value versus perceived value. Come back next Subscription Box Saturday when I tell you my thoughts on that.

Name something you bought or received where the the retail value was more than {or less than} than your perceived value.

Cheers~
Carrie